Probe Demanded Into Role Of Clerics In Jaranwala

Pakistani-American Christians and religious Minorities condemn attack on Christian community in Faisalabad 

Probe Demanded Into Role Of Clerics In Jaranwala

The Pakistani-American Christians and other religious minorities have asked the government to conduct a thorough examination of the involvement of local clerics in inciting mob violence against Christian residents of Jaranwala earlier in August over alleged blasphemy. 

In a statement issued by the group on Friday, they expressed their profound grief and sorrow over the appalling attack in Jaranwala that targeted the resident Christian community.

They said that the incident was triggered by an "unsubstantiated allegation of blasphemy" against two local Christian youth, resulting in the ransacking and burning of homes, destruction and desecration of Churches, burning of Holy Bibles and other sacred symbols. 

"We are also shocked to learn that a Christian government servant, Assistant Commissioner of Jaranwala Shaukat Masih, was transferred under a government order the same day," the statement stated.

They added that a protest was organised earlier in the week on Thursday outside the United Nations building in New York, where pastors from different churches in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and other States offered special prayers for the Jaranwala victims while leaders of various communities representing different organisations strongly condemned this act by the Muslim mob.

They expressed concerns over the disturbing trend of growing violence, attacks on Christian and other minority places of worship and the extrajudicial actions fueled by allegations of blasphemy. They said such actions and impunity have created concerns about the rights to life, liberty, security, and religious freedom for the minority communities living in Pakistan. 

The group demanded that the authorities should immediately book the perpetrators and an FIR in connection with mob violence, followed by the establishment of an impartial task force or joint investigation team to probe the incident, including the role of law-enforcement agencies and their failure to intervene proactively.

Based on comprehensive investigations, the suspects should be apprehended and handed lawful punishment to all miscreants involved, including any complicit government officials and/or law enforcement officers.

A thorough examination of the involvement of local clerics in inciting mob violence was demanded, followed by appropriate legal action against any cleric found guilty. 
Organisations or seminaries associated with such clerics should be investigated and necessary action should be taken against them in a real sense.

The Punjab government was urged to compensate the affected residents whose properties were vandalised and stolen or burnt and renovate the damaged churches and properties.

Displaced residents must also be provided protection against any further such incidents.

The political parties were urged to issue a unified condemnation of this incident, accompanied by practical measures to ensure the safety and security of Christians and other religious minorities in the affected region and all over the country through local party representatives.

The Pakistani Americans asserted that mere condemnation from the State is inadequate and demanded thorough action to bring justice to the affected individuals and families and to establish a stronger framework of protection for the Christians in particular and the religious minorities in general.